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Coco Eau de Toilette

Item Description

Ever smell Fendi, the original released in 1985? Well I have, and it always struck me as being unisex, despite its marketing as a feminine perfume. Those big dry florals and soft leather notes that are cleverly woven between being girls-only, and all-inclusive. Well, I'm here to tell you that I sometimes wear Coco by Chanel, and guess what . . .

First, I don't expect anyone but the ladies here on B&B to be remotely interested in this, but as this is my last review here on this site (for many years it looks like) I'd like to just posit this for the gentlemen: not every perfume is death on a guy.

Chanel has aldehydes, labdanum, and softness down to an acute science like no other fragrance house I know. They also have a problem coming up with effective masculines. To my knowledge, Antaeus is the only notable masculine, with the overrated Pour Monsieur and eclipsed Egoiste taking second tier, and Allure Homme being, in my mind anyway, a rare crowd-pleaser. This sets up the opportunity for someone who doesn't have access to a New York City Chanel boutique to try, well, crossing over. As I have done.

Here's the deal: Coco needs context. It's an Oriental fragrance, which means it's spicy. It was boutique material in the late '70s, and then became a mass release in 1984, following the heels of Opium and Cinnabar, two huge feminine Orientals that had seen great success and notoriety. All of these are marketed to women, although there are some masculine versions that don't actually capture the essence of the originals. But things that fall into the spicy Oriental category are, by default, really unisex in nature. There's nothing about them that is blatantly floral, white, transparent, or delicate. They are intended to be bold, and to make a statement.

Which takes us to 2010. A time when fewer and fewer people these days are interested in making statements with how they smell, and even fewer still in exploring 27 year-old perfumes. I've read all sorts of things about how Beyond Paradise and Tommy Girl are unisex, but I'm not buying it. I am buying Coco.

It opens with a nearly-identical to Fendi explosion of aldehydic dry floral/leather notes. These settle in about ten seconds, opening rapidly into a melange of frangipani, neroli, and a hint of vanilla - probably the cascarilla elements. These curl into a very heady musk, heightened by the brilliant use of ambrette. Eventually everything becomes made of myrrh.

But it's the labdanum that keeps this from getting too girly. I have to believe that this note is the key to Coco, and what makes it relatable to masculines. Although it is soft, the sharpness lurking within the drydown gives this a very smooth, spicy, amber glow. For those of you who know it, think Fendi after it's finished dinner and settled into a pleasant nap. Odd as that is, I can't think of any other way to put it.

The eau de toilette is of perfume-grade strength, and one spritz will take you clean through a long day. This stuff is very expensive - $75 for 1.7 ounces, so beware. But it is worth it if you want something pure and different. Very few women are wearing this nowadays, and have moved on to fruity, cloying fare. The odds of this being recognized as a ladies' perfume, while not out of the picture, are definitely not as good as they would have been two and a half decades ago. Like all Orientals, this is rounded out, very complex, and packaged beautifully. The atomizer is fine.

This is a truly stunning offering from Chanel. If you think you can pull it off, do it. If you happen to own and wear Kouros, look at it in the cabinet, tell yourself "If I can wear this, I can wear anything," and believe it, because you're right.

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Ever smell Fendi, the original released in 1985? Well I have, and it always struck me as being unisex, despite its marketing as a feminine perfume. Those big dry florals and soft leather notes that are cleverly woven between being girls-only, and all-inclusive. Well, I'm here to tell you that I sometimes wear Coco by Chanel, and guess what . . .

First, I don't expect anyone but the ladies here on B&B to be remotely interested in this, but as this is my last review here on this site (for many years it looks like) I'd like to just posit this for the gentlemen: not every perfume is death on a guy.

Chanel has aldehydes, labdanum, and softness down to an acute science like no other fragrance house I know. They also have a problem coming up with effective masculines. To my knowledge, Antaeus is the only notable masculine, with the overrated Pour Monsieur and eclipsed Egoiste taking second tier, and Allure Homme being, in my mind anyway, a rare crowd-pleaser. This sets up the opportunity for someone who doesn't have access to a New York City Chanel boutique to try, well, crossing over. As I have done.

Here's the deal: Coco needs context. It's an Oriental fragrance, which means it's spicy. It was boutique material in the late '70s, and then became a mass release in 1984, following the heels of Opium and Cinnabar, two huge feminine Orientals that had seen great success and notoriety. All of these are marketed to women, although there are some masculine versions that don't actually capture the essence of the originals. But things that fall into the spicy Oriental category are, by default, really unisex in nature. There's nothing about them that is blatantly floral, white, transparent, or delicate. They are intended to be bold, and to make a statement.

Which takes us to 2010. A time when fewer and fewer people these days are interested in making statements with how they smell, and even fewer still in exploring 27 year-old perfumes. I've read all sorts of things about how Beyond Paradise and Tommy Girl are unisex, but I'm not buying it. I am buying Coco.

It opens with a nearly-identical to Fendi explosion of aldehydic dry floral/leather notes. These settle in about ten seconds, opening rapidly into a melange of frangipani, neroli, and a hint of vanilla - probably the cascarilla elements. These curl into a very heady musk, heightened by the brilliant use of ambrette. Eventually everything becomes made of myrrh.

But it's the labdanum that keeps this from getting too girly. I have to believe that this note is the key to Coco, and what makes it relatable to masculines. Although it is soft, the sharpness lurking within the drydown gives this a very smooth, spicy, amber glow. For those of you who know it, think Fendi after it's finished dinner and settled into a pleasant nap. Odd as that is, I can't think of any other way to put it.

The eau de toilette is of perfume-grade strength, and one spritz will take you clean through a long day. This stuff is very expensive - $75 for 1.7 ounces, so beware. But it is worth it if you want something pure and different. Very few women are wearing this nowadays, and have moved on to fruity, cloying fare. The odds of this being recognized as a ladies' perfume, while not out of the picture, are definitely not as good as they would have been two and a half decades ago. Like all Orientals, this is rounded out, very complex, and packaged beautifully. The atomizer is fine.

This is a truly stunning offering from Chanel. If you think you can pull it off, do it. If you happen to own and wear Kouros, look at it in the cabinet, tell yourself "If I can wear this, I can wear anything," and believe it, because you're right.
Price
3.00 star(s)
Scent
4.00 star(s)
Quality
5.00 star(s)
Packaging
5.00 star(s)
Complexity
4.00 star(s)
Staying Power
5.00 star(s)
Quality of Atomizer
5.00 star(s)

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Featherweight
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